Schuckman: Soaking in crowd’s fervor is something QHS’s bench brigade appreciates


Quincy High School senior guard Seth Rupert tries to get into the passing lane defensively during Friday night's game against Geneseo at Blue Devil Gym. | Matt Schuckman photo

QUINCY — The rumble, roar and electricity created by a Blue Devil Gym crowd is something easily felt in heightened moments of most Western Big 6 Conference boys basketball games.

The intensity grows when you’re actually on the court.

“It’s really like no other,” Quincy High School senior guard Seth Rupert said. “I don’t think there’s another place in the United States that has a gym like this, that has a crowd that wants everyone to do well.”

With a crowd filling the gym all the way to the top row of the bleachers Friday night for the Quincy Shootout, Rupert and the rest of the Blue Devils’ bench brigade had the opportunity to feel that support and soak in what it was like to be center stage.

It came in a 75-13 victory over Geneseo, but the score hardly mattered.

The moment in the spotlight and that feeling only a select few have ever experienced hit home for those on the floor.

“The crowd we had tonight made it so much fun,” Rupert said. “Everyone was loud and really into the game. It made it 10 times better.”

Quincy coach Andy Douglas tried his best to enjoy and appreciate the moment, too.

“I try to do that more and more the older I get in coaching, and I’m not saying I do it, but I think about it and try to do it more often,” Douglas said. “The game is fun. You want your players to have fun. If I’m always serious and we’re always serious and you don’t ever sit back and enjoy moments like that, you’re robbing yourself of those moments.

“We need to celebrate these moments. These are guys who work extremely hard, and for them to get rewarded by their teammates and coaches cheering for them and the student section going crazy for them, it’s pretty neat.”

The moments were memorable.

Rico Clay threw down a one-handed dunk. Trace Routh, a sophomore, made his varsity debut and scored his first career basket. Ty Douglas, scoreless until the waning seconds, made a free throw that elicited possibly the loudest reaction of the night.

“They’re supporting us every single game, so it’s our job to support them when they get their opportunity,” said Tyler Sprink, a senior guard and one of the QHS starters. “They get to enjoy what we get to enjoy and that’s always fun.”

As much as their focus needed to be on the game, the reserves could feel the energy from the bench and the student section.

“Every time I came down the court, I could hear them yelling at us and cheering us on, just like we do for them,” said Rupert, who had two points and a steal. “It’s all love all around.”

It’s a reminder, no matter how many minutes come your way, the end goal is to succeed together and being able to be called a Blue Devil is special.

“There’s nothing else like it,” Rupert said.

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